Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Communicating with Officials

Points to remember when writing:

  • Always be polite, respecting the authority and office of the official
  • Be positive and constructive
  • Keep the letter brief – ideally, to one page
  • Don’t be sarcastic and never threaten
  • Don’t assume your letter won’t be read … it will
  • DO NOT send a form letter or postcard

Suggested paragraphs:

I am writing to urge you to (support/oppose) (at the state level: SB ###; HB ####) (at the federal level: S. ##; H.R. ##).
Immediately identify the subject you are writing about, and the title and bill number of the legislation if it has already been introduced. If no bill has been introduced, briefly describe the subject matter of your concern.

My name is … I am writing (because/on behalf of) Identify yourself. If you are writing on behalf of an organization, be sure you say so. At the federal level the two Senators from each state represent the entire state but the Congressman and women have specific districts. Your letter will carry more weight if you live or do business in the Representative’s district.

The same rule applies at the state level: let them know you are writing as a constituent. Each state Senator has a legislative district, as does each state Representative.

I urge you to (support/oppose) (SB###; HB####) because…      Clearly and concisely explain the reasons why you support or oppose the bill. If you do this well, you are more likely to influence his/her vote.

State facts. Give illustrations. Tell how the legislation will affect you, your company, your community and your state. The Senator or Representative often needs to know more clearly how the legislation will affect constituents if it is enacted. Offer to provide further information about the subject and the basis of your views.

In conclusion, I urge you to… And thank you for your consideration.
Thank the Senator/Congressman (federal level) or Senator/Representative (state level) for his/her consideration.

Be sure you have included your return address in the upper right hand corner if you are not using company letterhead.

Meetings with your elected official

It may be easier to try to schedule a meeting back in the district rather than at the Capitol. State elected officials enjoy meeting with their constituent groups at scheduled breakfasts or luncheons designed to reach a large group. State legislators meet at the Capitol Monday through Thursday, February through May.

If you schedule an appointment at the Capitol, be prepared to wait or to not meet at all. The time constraints on legislators during session are unbelievable. You may be able to talk only while you walk with your legislator either to a committee room or the chamber. It may be that you will only be able to say a few words between votes outside the chamber.

The important thing is personal contact. Have an issue paper ready to hand to the legislator — something he/she can take with him/her and refer to later. Have your business card attached to the issue paper so the legislator will know how to reach you should he/she have further questions.

Forms of Address

United States Senate:

The Honorable (First and Last Name)
United States Senate
Building, Room Number
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator (Last Name):


The Honorable (First and Last Name):
State of Oklahoma
212 State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Dear Governor (Last Name):

Oklahoma House of Representatives:

The Honorable (First and Last Name)
Oklahoma House of Representatives
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Dear Representative (Last Name):

Oklahoma State Senate:

The Honorable (First and Last Name)
Oklahoma State Senate
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Dear Senator (Last Name): 

United States House of Representatives:

The Honorable (First and Last Name)
U.S. House of Representatives
Building, Room Number
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Congressman/Congresswoman (Last Name):